‘The Hitman’s Bodyguard’ should be seen just for the Jackson and Reynolds chemistry.

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The Hitman’s Bodyguard
tells the story of  the world’s top bodyguard gets a new client, a hit man who must testify at the International Court of Justice. They must put their differences aside and work together to make it to the trial on time.

If the trailer’s were anything to judge the film by, The Hitman’s Bodyguard looked like it may have had something there but otherwise looked like a generic action film. And those thoughts aren’t wrong as at least the first twenty minutes are exactly that, but at least needed to set up the rest of the film.

Once you get past the opening section of the film and Samuel L. Jackson’s ‘motherfucker’ flinging character and Ryan Reynolds finally teaming up, the entire film changes. This can either be a good or a bad thing though it certainly made the film more enjoyable. The film doesn’t take itself seriously and you shouldn’t either, especially with the likes of Jackson and Reynolds teaming up. This isn’t a James Bond or Bourne film. It’s pure action comedy and a load of fun.

The main problem with The Hitman’s Bodyguard is that the cliches that riddle the film nearly completely ruin the chemistry Reynolds and Jackson have with each other. If the entire script wasn’t re-written mere weeks before the shoot, there may have been more time to sort out all the issues we see in the film’s current state.

Predictability aside, the story is told and you can figure it all out before it actually happens on screen, but that’s not important. What’s important that you’re just having fun and enjoying yourself while laughing at the chemistry, despite one or two jokes falling flat.

The action sequences are really on point as the film pushes the limits of their surroundings in Amsterdam, Netherlands. It was nice to see another part of the world being used in such a way from boat races to car chases and helicopter rides. There’s no stopping it.

It’s not a film that everyone will like but either way, The Hitman’s Bodyguard should be seen just for the Jackson and Reynolds chemistry.

Film-O-Meter: 5/10.

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‘Wind River’ proves that indie filmmakers deserve more recognition.

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‘Wind River’ tells the true story of an FBI agent who tens with a town’s veteran game tracker to investigate a murder that occurred on a Native American reservation.

A big thank you to the likes of actor, writer, and now director Taylor Sheridan for having two successful scripts with female leads that don’t have sex as a major part of the story. It’s hard, nowadays, to find films and television shows that aren’t stained with this in graphic detail. Even though the film is centred around a rape of a young Native American woman, it doesn’t show the gruesomeness in its full extent.

‘Wind River’ takes us into rural America, far away from the world and cities that we’ve become used to seeing on the big screen. Those in rural Wyoming are tough and there’s no mucking around, really showing characters at the edge of darkness. The exhaustiveness of the city doesn’t reach here but it doesn’t mean these people are simple whatsoever — there’s more richness and complexity than the fake attitude and deceitfulness that may come with the supposed “high life” that we’re conditioned to aspire to, though it’s nothing but an empty shell of what it presents itself to be. People here work hard and have been through much, causing their bitter and resentful attitude’s to stir.

It’s really a shame that this film isn’t as widely recognised as Sheridan’s previous work in ‘Hell Or High Water’ starring Chris Pine, Jeff Bridges, and Ben Foster that was released at the end of last year or even ‘Sicario’ with Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro, and Josh Brolin from 2015. It’s a film worth searching for to see at the cinemas as he’s tension and subtitles make him one of the best filmmakers of our time. There’s something about Sheridan’s films that are just so profound and thrilling as he brings to life an array of diversity in his gripping stories.

What’s disappointing is what it’s such a shame that those like Sheridan and even Jeff Nichols (‘Mud,’ ‘Take Shelter,’ ‘Midnight Special’) are overpowered by the bloated, over glorified filmmakers saturating the market today. Hollywood, however, will always look at the ticket sales instead of the work being produced, making it harder for those like Sheridan and Nichols to get their films made and released into the world.

‘Wind River’ is a complex and cleverly written thriller that starts out as a typical ‘whodunnit’ but becomes so much more than that. It’s about retribution and the clash between the outsider’s and locals, between the whites and natives, as a level of frustration arises from this murder investigation that brings up all these kinds of cultural suspicions.

In many ways, Elizabeth Olsen proves herself to be a formidable actress and the better actress of the Olsen family. She’s a character out of her element but this could also be a very good vantage point for us to see through. She’s supported by Jeremy Renner, who’s a man of few words but his actions definitely mean more than the little words he speaks. Their dynamic is not something like that of an odd-duo, it’s more the both of them trying to prove themselves in their environments.

It’s been a long time since we had a thriller that was as good as this.

Film-O-Meter: 9/10.

‘Valerian’ is a visual feast for the eyes.

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‘Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets’ is the comic book adaptation of the same name by Jean-Claude Mézières and Pierre Christin. It tells the story of a dark force that threatens Alpha, a vast metropolis and home to species from a thousand planets. Special operatives Valerian and Laureline must race to identify the marauding menace and safeguard not just Alpha, but the future of the universe.

If you’re familiar with any of French director Luc Besson’s work, ‘Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets’ holds a very similarly nostalgic style to that of ‘The Fifth Element.’ In saying this, however, despite its visual and stylistic similarities, ‘Valerian’ hardly lives up to it. Even with the sarcastic humour played adequately enough by English model-turned-actress Cara Delevigne (who’s still yet to prove that she can act) and the cameo from Rihanna, who wasn’t as painful as you might expect, the visuals are overstuffed to the max.

Besson, who’s known for his usual impeccable casting especially with the find in Natalie Portman with ‘Leon the Professional,’ was only to be doubted with this film. Dane Dehaan’s Valerian seemed unsuited to his personality as with Delevinge’s Laureline. In a film with such lush eye candy, it’s a shame that their relationship wasn’t as exciting and interesting. The film begs you to care about them but really, their characteristics were eye roll worthy at things we have sen before. There was nothing to love about them and occasionally makes you question how or why Laureline would fall for someone like Valerian.

It’s not a film that can dazzle us with it’s visuals, including more than 2,500 shots of visual effects, visuals and expect us to ignore the rather simplistic plot. The rich vividness of the film only brings to light the lifelessness of those leading us through the story. Valerian’s is one we’ve seen before and can only remind us of ‘Star Wars” Han Solo. Though the first half of the film was something that would be truly of interest, it soon fell flat into something that was more formulaic and proved to be far less exciting than it’s first half conceived it to be.

If it’s anything that the film got right, it was the visuals, but it’s not the only thing that a film can ride on. There are so many other elements that make a good film great and it’s a shame that ‘Valerian’ missed out on that. The story was undeniably predictable, making you say “well, duh,” though it did leave you to just be able to sit back and enjoy the visuals for what they were. It does make you want to know more about the world and head back to the original source material to read more into it.

Overall, the film wasn’t amazing but it delivers for what it is and much more enjoyable than the superhero nonsense that has plagued the marketplace.

Film-O-Meter: 6/10.

‘Atomic Blonde’ is the much watch film of the summer.

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‘Atomic Blonde’ tells the story of an undercover MI6 agent is sent to Berlin during the Cold War to investigate the murder of a fellow agent and recover a missing list of double agents.

This is a film that proves that action films, especially period action films, are more than just Tom Cruise running away from things and pulling a vaguely shocked expression. It proves that not only women can hold their own, like that of the recent success of ‘Wonder Woman,’ and Charlize Theron’s Lorraine Broughton is a bisexual woman, but that more films like this should be made. It’s truly a film of the modern age, showing what we’re truly capably if we actually dare to make films like this.

It would be unfair to say Broughton is a female combination of James Bond and Jason Bourne because she’s so much more then that. There’s so much more depth to her character than the dazzling action sequences, especially the one shot on the staircase and the jump out of a window with the extension cord, drinks at the bar, and working as an undercover agent. Director David Leitch, one half of the directing team behind ‘John Wick’ and Deadpool 2, helps bring out her character on screen, showing not only her sensitive side but her strong independence.

What Leitch does, also, is stays away from any tricks with the camera and keeps everything steady unlike what the Bourne films do in making you feel nauseous in its use of hand held camera. Despite the film being a little cliche at times, it proves to be a film that’s ranks above many in it’s genre.

Berlin at the time of the wall coming down in the 80s is the perfect place to host for a spy-thriller and a film of ‘Atomic Blonde’s’ tone. While things are dark and moody, there’s nothing stopping it from bringing to light some comedic moments. This is added to by the plethora of music from the decade, matching up perfectly with the action on screen.

This film is not what it’s advertised to be and that’s the best part because you’re given something so much more amazing. It seems like another spy movie with a great cast and the such, but it’s very much unique. In its hyper-styalised manner, ‘Atomic Blonde’ is an experience in itself and one that won’t be forgotten.

If you’re looking for something action packed to watch with a strong female lead who’s not afraid to take any punches with a kickass soundtrack and costumes, this is for you. Forget about ‘Baby Driver’ with its supposed amazing soundtrack, ‘Atomic Blonde’ beats it in every way.

Film-O-Meter: 9/10.

‘Dunkirk’ is a brilliant film, though it may not be Nolan’s greatest.

dunkirk-poster.jpg‘Dunkirk’ tells the story of the allied soldier’s from Belgium, the British Empire, and France who are surrounded by the German army and evacuated during a fierce battle in World War II.

One of the best writer/director’s of our time in Christopher Nolan’s take on the catastrophe that was Dunkirk is a film that he should be proud of — it’s powerful and well crafted, which should be no surprised considering the team behind the film. It avoids “war porn” of any sorts, showing little to no blood whatsoever, and piecing together the events of what happened in the typical Nolan-esque way that he uses time.

What can be disagreed with, however, is many reviewers and members of the general public calling ‘Dunkirk’ Nolan’s best film so far. Yes, it’ is an amazing feat Nolan accomplished, managing to interweave multiple story lines occurring at different points over various lengths in time (one even over the space of an hour while others taking up to a day) while it all making sense, however, it felt that there was something lacking in it all.

Nolan employed the kind of editing that was used in ‘Memento’ and ‘Inception’ in the jarring jumps from midday to pitch-black instead of the cross-cutting that may be traditionally used. While strange at the beginning, it begins to make sense. If anything, even when it’s not as mind-bending as Nolan’s previous work, ‘Dunkirk’ is still something makes you think as you try and piece things together. Editing is supposed to heighten the tension of what the Allies face but instead, there’s no transition between seemingly linked images even in the same plot lines and becomes lost, without any real sense of structure whatsoever.

The film itself didn’t grow in tension and instead, was one steady line of drama with at times feeling eternally frustrating at how long it takes for some events to take place. In his attempts to create tension, there’s not enough time for us to be with the character’s or their respective story lines. What was most frustrating about Tom Hardy’s air pilot was in him not circling back to land upon the beach to then catch a lift back home or defend from the skies for a little longer before landing at Dunkirk instead of doing what he did in traveling further up the coast to land his aircraft and then captured.

The sound design is something that needed to be seriously worked upon as with the design paired with Hans Zimmer’s score, it got to the point where it was deafening and in dire need of earplugs.

‘Dunkirk’ is great in it’s own right but to be deemed as one of the best war films to date is a little much. Something that can’t be ignored is the amazingly brilliant five minute one shot from Joe Wright’s ‘Atonement’ on the beach of Dunkirk that encapsulated what it was like to be a soldier on that beach; or the classic ‘Saving Private Ryan,’ which, in any respect, would be a hard film to surpass in terms of brilliance and greatness.

While it may be his best in some respects, it still fails to be as brilliant, awe-inspiring, and a topic of conversation for years to come like his previous efforts in ‘Inception,’ ‘Memento,’ ‘The Prestige,’ ‘Interstellar,’ and ‘The Dark Knight Trilogy.’ Nolan’s films of the future are still something to look forward to and will be interesting to see what comes next.

Film-O-Meter: 6/10.

Don’t believe the hype of ‘Baby Driver.’


‘Baby Driver’ tells the story of a young getaway driver who finds himself taking part in a heist doomed to fail after being coerced into working for a crime boss.

The thing about Edgar Wright is that he’s had such a great track record over the last decade or more with hits such as ‘Shaun of the Dead,’ ‘Hot Fuzz,’ and ‘Scott Pilgrim vs The World’ along with writing credits on ‘Ant-Man.’ Therefore, it’s no surprise that his latest instalment feels a little lacking. There’s so much hype around the film it feels a little ridiculous.

With a film that’s supposedly boasts a ‘killer’ soundtrack and links up to the action sequences, most of which were unrecognisable, it was a little already seen before. Even with an amazing cast, elements such as the dialogue was a little too on the nose, the love story lacked the chemistry that it needed to make it believable, and the characters were a little underdeveloped. The actor’s had barely anything to connect with in there characters as they were stereotypes of what they could’ve been. This could stem from the fact that there were too many character’s at that with too much of an emphasis on a love story that didn’t work. There’s nothing new about the story with the film only freshly entertaining and slick on the surface but if you delve deeper, it felt like it was nothing but a music video stitched together and a by the boxes film.

More often than not, it’s not hard to feel bored or just plain switched off even though it tries so hard to be exciting and compete with many other action/comedy films such as ’21 Jump Street,’ ‘Kick-Ass,’ ‘Kingsman,’ ‘The Nice Guys,’ and Wright’s own ‘Hot Fuzz.’ Although there’s no doubt that the dilm is fun and does prove some entertaining laugh’s, it’s nothing but a shell. With Wright having such a following, it’s disappointing to see an average at best film.

It’s not a bad film, it just feels like it could’ve been so much better. Stick to Wright’s oldie’s but goodies.

Film-O-Meter: 6/10.

‘To The Bone’ only scratches the surface


To The Bone
tells the story of a young woman, Ellen (Lily Collins), who’s dealing with anorexia nervosa. She meets and unconventional doctor (Keanu Reeves) who challenges her to face her condition and embrace life.

The thing withTo The Bone is that whenever a topic such as eating disorders, suicide, or mental illnesses are dealt with, there will always be an outcry and a triggering aspect to those who watch it, no mater how the topic is dealt with. WhileTo The Bone hardly takes itself seriously, there are crippling points that are truly traumatic, but it doesn’t take it too far, and thank God for that. Netflix have learned their lesson, unlike with ’13 Reasons Why’ where it’s portrayal and glamourisation of suicide was crippling to the point of outrage. With the writer/director Marti Noxon and protagonist Ellen/Eli portrayed by Lily Collins both suffering from eating disorders, there is a true authenticity to the story despite the unconventional methods that Ellen/Eli’s eating disorder is dealt with.

It’s no doubt that people will be sceptical going into this film, especially those who suffer or continue to suffer from eating disorders, and none the less trigger for some.To The Bone is something that should be approached with caution, though what’s seen isn’t particularly as damaging as some other comparison’s. This, however, shouldn’t be taken without a grain of salt. Each person’s experiences can affect the way they perceive the world and have their own triggers, with anything in this film being triggering for different reasons. For those who haven’t experienced the condition, or know of someone close to them who has, it could give potential insight into how someone with an eating disorder could be potentially going through.

To The Bone explores dark and complex issues while interweaving it with unexpected moments of humour, creating an empathetic piece of work. It’s not something that’s easy to sit through, and the situation the characters are going through isn’t exactly made entertaining, it lays anorexia out before us and tells it like it is while give the story moments of hope throughout. And this hope can be seen as a distraction from the actual treatment of the condition, displayed through the romantic sub-plot. Love may not cure all but it certainly helps was the journey.

Despite Lily Collins not being the strongest of actresses, a lot of her performances emotionless and dry, bringing up the question as to how she got here in the first place, there was a glimpse of talent and honestly in her performance. This comes from her actual experience with an eating disorder, something she clearly struggled with for a very long time. Collins still proves to be an actress that has a long way to go in her chosen profession if she wants to see any sort of change without a heavily reliance on her famous family.

Where awareness of disorders are becoming more promising, there’s still a stigma, and To The Bone only scratches the surface.

Film-O-Meter: 7/10.